Alina Perez

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It’s taking me a while to become comfortable with identities that I feel I have been pinned to, but I am slowly learning that I am allowed to embrace them. Being Queer and Cuban, I usually get categorized and compared to qualities with bad connotations. I have found that the only way to navigate through these negative remarks and spaces is to speak up even more, even though it can feel pretty terrifying, especially when the comments are from family and friends. I am learning that the people who matter are the ones who listen, rather than speak over me. When speaking up, I have found many people who silence me in ways I’m not familiar with, but I have also found people who feel and experience similar issues I do, who cried when I cry, laugh when I laugh, and carry some of the heavy weight I hold with them. These are the people who have helped me figure out that my experiences are both real and important. That being silent only corners me into darker places. I have realized that to navigate, you need to find those who will navigate with you.

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